Big Springs Hollow Trail

excerpted from our book

Salt Lake City's Incredible Hiking and Biking Trails
pages 208-210

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Big Springs Holow, Utah Big Springs Holow, Utah

     Big Springs Hollow has long been a popular destination for residents of Provo looking for an afternoon get-away in the nearby mountains. The trail is a delightful walk with only 870 feet of elevation gain and an abundance of beautiful alpine scenery along the way; it is also a popular mountain biking trail and a winter snowshoe trail. As an added bonus, the trailhead is located on the edge of Big Springs Park, one of Provo's prettiest open areas, and summer visitors often combine the hike with a family picnic in the park.
      The Big Springs Hollow Trail heads west from the parking lot for 150 feet before turning south along the west bank of the shallow creek that runs down the canyon. After 0.3 mile the path crosses to the east side of the stream, and then, a short distance later, back to the west. The trail continues to cross the meandering creek many times as it progresses up the canyon, and at each crossing the Forest Service has constructed a short span of boardwalk to protect the delicate riparian area. The Big Springs Hollow Trail also passes through several beautiful meadows as it proceeds up the canyon, and each time the forest opens up you will be treated to a gorgeous view of Cascade Mountain further to the south. In most of the meadows you will see smaller hiker-made trails that lead into the trees to some very nice campsites.
      Although it is not immediately obvious, you will eventually start catching brief glimpses of a jeep road that begins on the east side of the trailhead parking lot and continues up the canyon on the east side of the creek. After 1.0 mile the jeep road crosses the Big Springs Hollow Trail and continues another 0.4 mile to Big Springs Camp, a tent camp on the west side of the creek. This camp is operated by the Provo School District for an annual environmental education program. Every summer the city’s 6th grade students are invited to spend several days at Big Springs Camp learning about nature.
      As indicated by a sign where the road crosses the Big Springs Hollow Trail, you should bear left, and after another 0.5 mile you will arrive at Big Springs. Unless you are hiking before mid-May you will probably be disappointed to find the springs dry. In past years the springs have been active well into the summer, but now hikers are finding that they are usually dry before the end of May. There is still plenty of water in the canyon, but some hydrological changes must have occurred in the past decade that cause the water to emerge in different locations.
      After leaving Big Springs the Big Springs Hollow Trail turns to the west for another 250 yards before arriving at another junction where the trail to Cascade Saddle departs. Some ambitious hikers may want to continue on to Cascade Saddle, which is 3.0 miles from the junction and 2,800 feet higher in elevation. But to complete the walk described here you must turn right at the junction and head north on the return leg of the hike.
      0.2 mile north of the Cascade Saddle Junction the Big Springs Hollow Trail passes through Big Springs Camp, and as you enter the camp the trail becomes a jeep road. Continue following the jeep road for 0.4 mile to the point where it crosses the Big Springs Hollow Trail, and then bear left to retrace your steps back to the trailhead.

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